Mystic firefighters called heroes after putting their lives on the line | Connecticut News


MYSTIC, CT (WFSB) – First responders put their lives on the line every day. 

In Tuesday’s special report on Connecticut’s brave, Channel 3 spoke with several heroes who risked their lives recently to save the life of an elderly woman.

On Thursday, Sept. 23 at about 6:43 p.m., Mystic firefighters received a 911 call about a fully involved house fire on Somersett Drive.

“Groton fire alarm to the Mystic Fire Dept., responding to 9-7 Somersett Drive building fire,” dispatchers radioed. “Have a report of a bed on fire in the residence.”

This was the first working fire for Chief Anthony Manfredi as well as EMT firefighter Heather Bennett.

“So, it was a little stressful for me, but when you’re in the moment you really don’t think about it,” Bennett said.

“I’m getting reports of a woman in the house,” dispatchers said in the initial report.

“Knowing that we had a victim that was reported in the back bedroom, we sent a search crew in first and the hose line in immediately behind them,” Manfredi said.

Mystic firefighters knew the house and the woman inside, 92-year-old Georgettte Dicandia.  She had a lift chair on the front stairway.

A decision was made to send the rescue team thru the back door and into thick choking smoke.

“You can’t see your hands in front of your face,” said William Schmeelk, a Mystic firefighter. “Contrary to what you see on TV and things like that.”

“Our team had some walls, barriers in front of us and we overcame every single one of them, as a team,” Bennett explained.

“I heard my fellow firefighters call ‘we found her, we found her,’” Schmeelk said. “So, I made my way to where they were as they were starting to pull her out. I met them in the hallway.”

“We brought her out of the building started CPR on her outside and turned her over to Mystic River Ambulance,” Manfredi said.

As EMTs rushed the 92-year-old woman to Lawrence & Memorial Hospital, they got a pulse. However, she died the next day from her injuries.

“I do hope the family got to say their goodbyes and that’s all we could ask for,” Bennett said.

Several of the first responders, including Manfredi said after they made entry, they never heard a smoke detector going off.  Also, they later determined the cause of the fire was improperly discarded smoking materials.

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